Monday, 17 February 2014

Fisherman's Cove @ Starhill Gallery

As you step into Fisherman's Cove @ Starhill Gallery, you are greeted with a rustic setting, reminiscent of a boathouse, and decorated with sails and lamps to re-create a fishing village.  The restaurant has an open-concept kitchen, ready to serve you the best seafood whether it is pan-fried, chargrilled, steamed, slow poached or just sashimi style.
I had wanted to try the food at Fisherman's Cove (shortlisted as one of the Best Seafood Restaurants in Time Out KL Food Awards 2009, 2010, 2011 & 2012) for quite a while now but has always been held back by its more 'upmarket' prices.
The prices at this restaurant are not within the 'affordable' range of many (me included) as eating here can easily cost you RM200 (or more) per person.  But with the recent 'discount' offered by a group buying site, I was finally presented with the opportunity to sample their opportunity I was not going to miss!
As soon as we were shown to our table and given menus, a waiter appeared and asked what type of water we would like to have....distilled or sparkling?  We opted for distilled because we didn't want something fizzy.  Though I knew that I would have to pay for this 'type' of water, I didn't quite expect a 750ml bottle of Evian water to cost RM32.  If I had known (or had time to turn the menu until the drinks section where the prices were shown), we would have preferred to order 2 fresh juices instead.

I decided to take home the Evian glass bottle because 1) damn it!...I paid RM32 for it, 2) it looked really nice and 3) as 'remembrance' for the most expensive water that I've ever drank.  [#Note: Hey, I don't need good water....I just need good food!]
Anyway, I did order a Fresh Mango Juice @ RM18 (notice my Evian water behind? and you can definitely taste a lot of mango in it, which was textured more like pureed mango than mango juice.  [#Note: I suppose the pureed mango justifies the 'high' price though I would have preferred it to be more liquid like a juice.]
After we have made our orders (mostly seafood since they are notably well known for it), we were served 2 pcs of wholemeal bread + 1 pc of white bread, together with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, for dipping, while waiting for our starters to arrive.  The crusty bread came 'hot from the oven' and the olive oil and balsamic vinegar dipping was different from the luscious butter we are used to.  [#Note:  Some might find this dip a bit odd-tasting and would have preferred a good butter which they are more familiar with.  And some do not develop a taste for balsamic vinegar but I'm fine with it.] 

A good quality balsamic vinegar tastes a bit like a hearty red wine and, though I've not tasted many balsamic vinegars before, I did taste the wine in this one, so I presume it's fairly good quality.
Apart from the bread and dip, a small tray of 4 spices was also brought to our table.  It consisted of salt, chilli flakes, white and black pepper for diners to 'season to taste' to their individual preference.
Our first appetiser was the Hot & Cold Prawn Cocktail with Warm Tangy Mayo & Cold Cocktail Sauce @ RM32.  The Hot Prawn Cocktail (3 pcs) was coated in a light batter and fried, served with a warm, slightly sweet and tangy mayo, and topped with a piece of radish and walnut which provided the crunch to this dish.  On the other hand, the Cold Prawn Cocktail (3 pcs) was poached prawns topped with chopped chives and a cold cocktail sauce.  The prawns were fresh and medium-sized (wished it was bigger) and tasted immensely refreshing with the 2 sauces....and I certainly could have polished off a few more prawns!
The next appetiser, the Teriyaki Sea Eel with Fruity Sushi Rice @ RM28, consisted of sea eel (2 pcs) glazed in teriyaki sauce on a bed of sushi rice with mango and red dragon fruit.  The sea eel was excellent, the fruits were so soft and sweet, and the flavours were clean and fresh.  My dining companion commented that this was almost similar to the 'unagi sushi' he has eaten but this was way better and the best he has ever eaten so far.
If the excellent appetiser is a hallmark of what is to come, we're off to a good start!
After our appetiser courses, next came the soup courses.  First up, their Fisherman's Cove Seafood Soup @ RM38 is their signature soup and it arrived filled with fresh fish, superbly fresh prawns (1 large and 1 medium-size), clams (3 large and 6 medium-sized ones), enoki mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and fresh herbs.  The orange seafood broth was light but yet rich in flavour and the portion size was rather hefty.  All the seafood was super fresh and that's probably why it tasted a lot better than all the seafood soups I've had in the past.
The other soup was the Creamy Mushroom Soup Flavoured with Truffles @ RM26 came piping hot with a piece of herbed toast.  The soup was very creamy and thick, with an intense mushroom flavour, probably because of the additional flavour provided by the truffles.  Whatever it was, this was a very good mushroom soup.....slurrrppp!
If the flavoursome hearty soups hint heavily of the delights to follow.....we can't wait!
The main courses are next after our soups, the first being Pan-Fried Fillet of Coral Grouper with Pipi Clams and Lemon-Butter Sauce @ RM68.  The coral grouper was lightly pan-fried to perfection and the lemon-butter sauce provided a very zesty, lemony flavour that went so well with the fish.  With fish that fresh, simple preparation with the simplest seasoning is the best way to go!  The fish was so soft and tasty, just wished the fish was a bigger serving.
The main course was accompanied by a bowl of seasonal vegetables (served separately).  The seasonal vegetables were not your 'run-of-the-mill' kind served usually.  It consisted of sugar snap peas, broccoli, corn, squash, Japanese cucumber, fresh shitake mushrooms, cherry tomatoes (all nicely parboiled/lightly pan-fried) and, sprinkled with toasted sliced almonds, gave the vegetables a crunchy texture and a slightly charred taste.
Our other main course was the Teriyaki Salmon Fillet with Seasonal Vegetables @ RM68.  The salmon fillet was glazed with teriyaki sauce and pan-fried to perfection and served with some grilled corn on top.  It was fresh, it was delicious, it was perfect.....and the 'brush' of sauce underneath tasted amazing!  This came with the same seasonal vegetables as well.

My Personal Opinion

This was excellent stuff and definitely worth another I'm hungry for more.....of their unbelievably fresh seafood (just wished my wallet was as big as my appetite for good food)!  For diners who prefer seafood to meat, this is the place to go (instead of a good steakhouse) for a change of quiet serenity, ambience and attentive service...and above all, immensely fresh seafood.

Also, try to stay away from ordering water (otherwise just think of it as drinking healthier water (that's good for you) and better tasting water (though I don't really care if it's tastier) or you could just stick with fresh juices (that you can really taste)!

If there's one minor complaint, it would be the seats....the "bench" type of seats was uncomfortable (when it came to eating) as they were too far away from the table and you can't really sit back and relax (except when you're not eating).  The individual solid timber chairs would be a better choice, I reckon.

What I loved:  All the fresh seafood, simply prepared, beautifully plated, superbly light and incredibly tasty!!  They really know how to handle and cook their fresh produce to perfection!  Also, their attention to the smallest details (from the sauces to the garnishes to the herbs) all went so well together to ensure your senses are heightened, making it a pleasurable dining experience for you.

What I didn't quite like:  The seats (benches) and the high prices (especially the price of water)!!  As much as I want to detest the high prices, I know I can't because high prices equal fresher produce (and you can't fault their produce). 

Fisherman's Cove
LG10 Feast Floor Starhill Gallery
181 Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2782 3848

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